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Report: NCAA rule breakers could face NFL sanctions

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Warning: slippery slope ahead.

For those who are unaware, the NFL announced Thursday that former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is eligible for their supplemental draft that will be held this coming Monday.  One caveat: he will be suspended for the first five games of the NFL’s regular season, and will not be permitted to participate in either practice or games until the suspension is completed.  The reasoning behind the suspension, the NFL stated in its release, was that “Pryor had accepted at the end of the 2010 college football season a suspension for the first five games of the 2011 season for violating NCAA rules”, and that he had subsequently “undermine[d] the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft” by “failing to cooperate with the NCAA” on their investigation into the OSU football program.

Based on one report, it appears the NFL may be hellbent on making such a thing the new norm when it comes to players bringing their college baggage into the pros.

Mike Freeman of CBS Sports.com writes that the NFL, “in conjunction with college football and the NFL Players Association, is considering a series of actions that would discipline players who are busted in college for violating NCAA rules, then skip to the pros unscathed.”  This will henceforth, of course, be known as the Reggie Bush Rule if adopted and survives what would certainly be a legal challenge by a player or players.

The punitive measures the NFL is considering, Freeman reports, include fining or suspending players who were found to have committed NCAA violations after they came to the NFL.  Any fines collected would go toward paying a school’s legal fees incurred by defending allegations of violations or to a scholarship fund.

In recent months, members of the NCAA, NFL, NFLPA and AFCA have all met to discuss ways they can help college football curb what appears to be escalating rule-breaking at that level.  Certainly the NCAA would be open to any and all help it can get, while the NFL will undoubtedly bend over backwards — how far as evidenced by the Pryor decision — to maintain their free farm system.  The AFCA, whose members consist of college football coaches, are also likely open to anything that would make it easier for their constituency to compete on a level playing field.

The NFLPA, however, may be a tougher nut to crack when it comes to cooperating for the good of the college game.  While the player’s association would have no problem in lending a hand with the agent/runner issue that still plagues the college game, they might buck at its membership being penalized by the NFL for something that occurred while in college.  Freeman, though, reports that the NFLPA is open to the dialogue currently being offered up by the NFL and the NCAA on this issue; how open the NFLPA may be is reflected by the fact the they reportedly signed off on Pryor’s suspension.

Even if the NFLPA hurdle is navigated, there could very well be legal obstacles to overcome.  In fact, there most certainly would be legal challenges.  While I applaud the NFL for its gesture, even as it’s far from altruistic, there appears to be a very slim chance this could ever come to fruition.

Of course, if the NCAA had subpoena power, none of this grandstanding by The Association’s football big brother would be necessary, but that’s another story for another day.

I do have one question, though: would the same standards that the NFL wants to apply to players also apply to coaches?  Let’s say, purely hypothetically of course, a coach were to abandon a Southern California college football program six months before near-historic sanctions were levied for a head-coaching job with a professional football club in the Northwest; would he be subject to the same type of NFL-mandated punishment as his players?

One would have to think that the NFL would most certainly want to hold its coaches to a higher standard than its players, right?

Ah yes, a slippery slope indeed…

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7 Responses to “Report: NCAA rule breakers could face NFL sanctions”
  1. WingT says: Aug 18, 2011 12:35 PM

    Good for the NFLPA and the NFL for recognizing that changes need to be made and accountability is in order.

    As JT pointed out it will be most interesting to see if the NFL will hold coaches to a higher standard

  2. dickroy says: Aug 18, 2011 12:39 PM

    Thats a very good point about the coaches John. I always knew Pete knew what was going to happen.

  3. blackdb says: Aug 18, 2011 12:58 PM

    NFL has no dog in this fight. Make it a felony to give improper benefits to players and go after the Wealthy Boosters. Do you really think a kid who is really struggling for money is going to turn down a handout. How can you punish the ones that make it to the NFL and not the ones that do not make the NFL. Too many land mines for the NFL.

  4. tbtrojan says: Aug 18, 2011 1:29 PM

    This is just moronic.
    Earlier there is a story mentioning how when a player transfers from one NCAA school to another NCAA school they can’t be punished but if they leave an NCAA school and enter the NFL (a completely seperate entity) they can be punished for those actions?

    Unless something is done about the NCAA and Roger GODell football is doomed.

  5. dickroy says: Aug 18, 2011 1:58 PM

    @ blackdb
    Problem is these kids were not excepting a little handout. It was party boats, booze, whores. and the like,

  6. honkerdawg says: Aug 18, 2011 7:35 PM

    Glad to see that somebody (evidently not the NCAA) is willing to do something punitive the the players who actually take gifts from boosters and not punish the players who are now in the program like the almighty NCAA does. What a joke they are, punish the greater good for what the lesser bad have done.

  7. freddyjones198420 says: Aug 20, 2011 11:46 AM

    Everyone is talking about this whole Pryor NFL fiasco. Now you seemed to be focused on whether or not the NFL did the right thing. Let’s get back to those Ohio state allegations.

    If what Pryor says is true Ohio State should be in a lot more trouble and everyone is brushing over that. Pryor and his mom getting money, cars and God knows what else is as bad as what Miami has allegedly done and everyone is brushing over that. This is so clear it’s pitiful.

    Gene Smith has bamboozled his way out of this with his buddies in the NCAA. I think this “agreement” with the NFL was all set up so that one can simply ignore all of Ohio States allegation and that is BS.

    As far as athletes getting paid is everyone crazy? How would you enforce this? I work for a company…My company makes a butt-load of money…shouldn’t I get a majority of the profits?

    That is crazy. There is no way athletes should get paid. When in fact they are already. They are not “slaves”, as David Cornwell would have you think and just for the record I am black and i am a former college athlete. Some get room and board, food, all those other perks, and especially an education. Most people in America are not fortunate enough to get that.

    Besides there is no way to determine who…how much…what sports(and they all should get paid if one does)…how to tax it…etc…etc… so stop with all this talk.

    These kids aren’t some naive flowers that are so overwhelmed by these sports these are kids playing on a sport in college.

    So stop all this other talk and please someone investigate the “real” Ohio state I am so tired of everyone pretending that they have been so good all of these years because Tressel was such a great man…coach…recruiter. These kids over the years knew what they could get if they came to Ohio State that is why so many of them came here. Ohio State is just as bad if not worse than Miami.

    By the way Pryor will fail in the NFL. Just like Clarett. It’s amazing to me that now the media is simply ignoring that fact. Way to educate young men OSU & Tressel.

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